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Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Melbourne Watch Company Portsea is a modern take on the classic marine chronometer, and for less than $1,000 offers a hefty dose of charm in a well-constructed and attractive package.

If you’re unfamiliar with Melbourne Watch Company, that may be because it was founded just three years ago, in 2013, after a successful crowdfunding of its first model, the Flinders. The company’s goal is “to create premium grade watches that are accessible to watch enthusiasts, casual collectors, and beyond,” and I’ve spent over two months with the Portsea, first released in 2014, to see if the model and the company live up to their self-set standards.

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As you might have guessed, Melbourne Watch Company is based out of Melbourne, Australia, and each of their models is a nod to the city in some way. Portsea is a town on the Mornington Peninsula, which is southeast of Melbourne. As the city is a 23-hour flight from where I’m located, I chose not to visit it for this review, but according to it is the former site of numerous military fortifications and now known for its “upmarket dream homes” and “scenic coastal features including pristine beaches, cliffs, reef platforms, and turbulent seas.”

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Fortunately, the seas weren’t too turbulent the day the watch was shipped out for review, and it arrived safely. The watch came enclosed in a small black leather box with the company’s logo pressed into the top. Upon opening, I was presented with the Melbourne Watch Company Portsea watch with its rose gold-colored case in 316L stainless steel and navy blue leather band, along with two cards tucked into a small pocket sewn into the lining of the case. The first was a warranty card with information about the two-year international warranty and the other was a quick reference guide on how to set the calendar (more on that later).

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It wasn’t long before I had strapped the Melbourne Watch Company Portsea to my wrist, and my initial reaction was that the watch felt weighty and well-constructed. There are items you pick up once in a while that immediately channel a sense of quality through you – the last time for me was picking up a Zippo Armor lighter – and the Portsea gave me the same feeling. Even now, after weeks of wear, when I pick up the watch in the morning before affixing it to my wrist, there is a moment of pause when I just hold the watch, letting its presence register in my palm before moving it to it’s place of prominence for the rest of the day.

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Portsea wears comfortably at 40mm wide (43mm with the crown) and at 48mm lug-to-lug. At 13mm thick, it does stick out from the wrist somewhat, and on my 16cm wrists, I noticed this fact – though someone with larger wrists would certainly be less bothered by it. The lug width is 20mm, and the lugs are slightly curved so the watch wears more comfortably.

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The strap is one of the nicer details of the watch. Padded dark blue leather with an alligator skin pattern, it is very flexible and soft. The choice of blue adds immensely to the marine aesthetic of the watch, and though there are other case and strap combinations available for the Portsea, the rose gold and blue struck me as the most interesting (others are: black strap, silver case, black dial; blue strap, silver case, blue dial; and brown strap, silver case, white dial).

Melbourne Watch Company Portsea Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Although inspired by classic marine chronometers, the watch will most likely be worn as a dress watch in semi-formal and office environments, and wearing the watch to work with my standard white dress shirts felt appropriate. The coloring and style is refined enough to blend in when you want, but offer enough flavor to keep you interested and catch the eye of any watch-collecting co-workers. Over lunch, my former colleague and friend who has a small collection of mechanical watches immediately took notice of the Melbourne Watch Company Portsea and it quickly became the topic of discussion as we ate.

With the Melbourne Portsea, there is a lot to discuss. Already mentioned was the coloring of the case and strap, but when you get up close to the dial you begin to appreciate the amount of thought that has gone into the design of this timepiece.



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  • What a coincidence, I just got mine last night, same colour, etc. I absolutely love it. Very comfortable to wear and looks far more expensive than it is. Very classy looking watch.

  • Marius

    According to this article: “The Melbourne Watch Company Portsea is a well-constructed and -designed watch from an exciting new player in the mechanical watch world.” Please excuse me if I`m not that excited about a gold-plated watch, manufactured in China, and bearing the brand name Melbourne Watch Company. Spending the $600 on some good quality lager would make much more sense to me.

    • Lindsay
      • Except it’s not Aussie made at this point.

      • Bernhard de Kok

        LOL. If it’s good enough for Apple, then “Designed in Melbourne, Australia”. How’s that?

    • BJ314

      made in China, blah, blah, blah…80% of everything is made in China or with Chinese parts. Including whatever pre-owned German car you’re currently struggling to make payments on. lol

    • Sujain Krishnan

      Hi Marius- Our longer term goal is to be able to create a collection that carries the Australian Made label. Unfortunately the level of investment required to do this is out of our reach at the moment, but we’re working on getting there in smaller steps. For the time being, we are working with what we’ve got in order to grow. Feel free to reach out to me if you ever want to learn more. Cheers, Sujain.

  • laup nomis

    Seeing it by photograph is always tricky. In this case the white dial, especially the chapter ring level, looks plastic. The printed hour numerals reinforce the impression that the dial is plastic. The hands are nice, but I’m not sure why diamond cutting makes a difference, if you’re only going to coat them. They would be better heat treated.
    I don’t have anything like it, and if the dial did actually look ceramic in real life, and not plastic. For its price, I happily wear it. The price seems typical for a start up, with miyota engine.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Who needs a month indicator ? Answer………… one. This looks all of its $600 price tag,

    • Lindsay

      Who needs a mechanical wristwatch in the 21st century?…

      Fortunately for you, it can be had without the sub-dials, and it costs less too!

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Am not sure what you’r point is.

        • Lindsay

          Complaining about an unnecessary feature of an unnecessary device reminds me of an expression. Something about forests and trees? Hmm, it’ll come to me eventually.

          • Perhaps his point was a month indicator on a watch which is neither an annual or perpetual calendar is unrelated to the operation of the date displayed. And hence, is just to remind one of the current month, which as Raymond points out, most of us know without looking at our watch. Cheers.

          • Bernhard de Kok

            And, it’s a major pain to set each February, except this year 🙂 At least it’s an automatic. I personally can’t understand why anyone would want an annual or perpetual calendar on a manual movement, I don’t wear the same watch all the time and it’s a nuisance to always set it when I do decide to use it. I think it’s a bit of a useless complication, I’d much rather a chronograph.

          • I agree that an annual or perpetual watch needs to be an automatic and on the winder when not worn daily. Or just have your watch valet set your planetarium watch for you on those days when you dress to impress, ha ha.

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    Can you get one with a mouse in suspenders on the dial?

    • Berndt Norten

      You’re back! Busy with various industry shin-digs? Doing shots with the Biev?

      • Dinkee, H. O.

        I was being vetted for the VP spot by Trump. And then by Hillary. (I swing both ways) In the end I will retain my position as Official Horologist to President Trump while keeping my weekends free to wash John Mayer’s cars and pleasure him in whatever manner he desires.

        The Ho

        • laup nomis

          Iv’e heard Trump has a restrained and sophisticated sense of taste. And is apparently unerring, in wearing exquisite beautiful timepieces. If you judge a man on what he says, and how he dresses – his hair.
          So if you’re not to sore after you’ve finished with John Mayer, I suggest you join the Donald.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Good advice he’s gonna be HUUUUUUUUUUGE !

  • word-merchant

    The date window is so far away from the perimeter of the watch it’s practically in another time zone.

  • SuperStrapper

    TThe overall design is actually not bad, but the execution leaves much to be desired. The ‘lower’ dial is nicely wrought, but the ‘uppers’ portion could be made of plastic, as that is exactly what it looks like. I have no issue with miyota movements, but that layout (month/week indicators to mimic a chronograph look) just screams Chinese eBay mushroom. Pass.

    • pkansa

      Agreed – I had to read through because I wanted to see what that dial was made of. Surprised that it was ceramic (an interesting choice) as it does look plasticky.

      • SuperStrapper

        Leaving the bottom dial as it and the upper portion in (i.e.) steel would be more cost effect to produce, and look better (not to mention a nice contrast as well).

        • Usually dials are brass, as opposed to steel, and then plated or inked.

          • SuperStrapper

            Understood, but that is due t cost effectiveness. Steel would still be more economical than ceramic through.

    • Bernhard de Kok

      I own this watch and bought it two years ago. It compares easily with anything under $5,000, it’s quite striking to look at. There’s no plastic, it’s all ceramic, but I guess it doesn’t render well in photos. I wasn’t 100% keen on the movement, but it’s turned out to be my most accurate watch only losing 1 second per month. Hard to beat.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    We’re all a bunch of snobs,…………..go on , admit it.

    • SuperStrapper

      Your point being…?

  • cg

    I do like the hint of a 3D effect…. that’s about all. Modern gold watches don’t thrill me.

  • ??????

    Nice attempt, but big, gold plated watch with painted hands and plasticky dial is not my cup of tea. I was seeking where are the chrono pushers – just to realise that it isn’t chronograph.

  • 50,000+ numerical fonts, and they went with “default” for the hour indicators.

    For $400 more (about $200 more on the preowned market) you could get the Steinhart Marine Chrono in Bronze with a Valjoux 7750. You’ll have to guess the month, though.

    • SuperStrapper

      That would be such a better watch without the superfluous ‘7750’ and ‘chronograph’ texts.

      • It would have been better in general if they chose a name for their marine chronograph that was a little more original than “Marine Chronograph”. With their Nav-B line, they leave off the text entirely, a route they should have gone with this one.

    • Lindsay

      That’s what marine chronometers look like.

  • wallydog2

    Charming. I’ve always had a fondness for “railway” minute markers.


    Plastic on the dial ?? I hear ceramic but it sure looks like plastic. No thanks

  • I’ll never like fauxnographs.

    • Lindsay

      Is there a law that states sub-dials must be used for a chronograph complication?

      Anyway whatever. You can get one without the sub-dials, and it costs less too.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Ulysse Nardin wants their anchor back.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    Very nice review of a very nice watch.
    The pricing of this attractive piece shows, again, the gouging done by most watch companies.
    Well Done Portsea !

  • I was poking around on Alibaba and accidentally discovered this:
    So it appears that the unique design aspect to the dial is limited to the printing of their name? Or maybe I’m being too cynical and their supplier is ripping off their unique design (and intellectual property) and offering it to other buyers as well (a disreputable but all too common practice among Chinese suppliers).

    • Timestandsstill

      It seems far more likely that it is the latter scenario since it’s unlikely an “original” Chinese design would have randomly picked the name Portsea, a suburb of sorts of Melbourne

    • Bernhard de Kok

      Hi Mark, I actually bought this watch 2 years ago and directly from the Owner of the company. Really nice guy. He showed all of his designs and their evolution on the Watchuseek forums and there was nothing like it anywhere else. If you’ve seen similar elsewhere, I can only assume that he’s been ripped off.

      • Hi Bernie, good to see you here again. Based on what you say, it appears his dial production partner has no compunction about ripping off his design and offering it to the public. The lack of respect for another man’s intellectual property is shameful and all to common in China. If you are in contact with Melbourne Watch, you might mention this to them so they can pressure the supplier to at least remove it from Alibaba.

        • Bernhard de Kok

          Yes; It’s sad, but all too common there.

    • Sujain Krishnan

      Hi Mark – thanks for making me aware of this. We don’t work with that company and I’m now trying to get this removed. It is unfortunately a common thing on Alibaba. We’ve seen our complete designs with the logo blurred out posted several times before, by factories who we’ve never heard of and I know this happens frequently to many other brands. Thanks – Sujain.

      • Happy to help. It sucks but we all know this goes on in China. Alibaba is supposed to enforce IP rights (in theory anyway). Cheers and best of luck with your watch.

  • Shane Kleinpeter

    The mix of fonts on this dial is an absolute mess. The hour markers are a modern sans serif, the subdials are closer to Times New Roman (a serif font) and the date wheel is a different font still. Then the logo and watch name add two more. It’s a shame, because I like the dual layer dial (but not the plasticy look) and the overall case shape.

  • Pistol Pete

    I got one of these a while back, but flipped it pretty quickly. It’s decent, but it wore a bit thick, and the plastic-looking dial didn’t impress. You don’t really get the dial depth that appears to be there in the photos.

  • Harold Buttolph

    Beautiful watch. Love the Vintage nautical styling

  • Bruce Lim

    The stainless steel version make a better daily beater.